Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Polish it Up - Take 2!

A year ago I wrote a post about an idea I had to help students apply a growth mindset without costing us more time and energy that what we would normally do in class. It was called "Polish it Up Day". You can read about the entire thing HERE.

This post is about my own reflection of the concept, and how I made changes (by applying a "growth mindset" to my own teaching) And how MUCH BETTER this has become, thanks to reflection and growth.

What Didn't Work
  • With the "Polish it Up Day" at the very end of the semester, before Christmas Break, many students simply didn't want to redo work. They had already "gone to break" and even though parents encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity...many didn't. 
  • Some kids did try to "polish up" and were trying to complete work that was done over 9 weeks ago. They struggled to improve their scores, find the necessary materials, or even remember what the assignment was.

How I fixed it.

There was really one major change that I made that fixed these two problems. Instead of having it be one day at the end of the semester, I have it included as part of our "review day" before the test of a particular unit. Each review day before a test and up until the end of the class period on the test day, students can resubmit anything done during that unit for a better grade. Once the test day passes so does the opportunity, for that unit. We move on to the next topic, and so do they. Grades stand after that. 

This goes for any student and any grade. If someone scored an 89% of a writing assignment he/she can go back, add more details, make corrections and improve their score. Same for someone who had a 56%. Everyone has the opportunity to get better. 

This is also perfect because by redoing those assignments it is a great way to review for the test other than just filling out the review sheet. It also gives kids more than one shot at improving throughout the semester. 

The Results:

This was great!I am so happy I didn't just throw out the "Polish it UP" idea because I had so many students take advantage of the opportunity to get better. I had F's turn into C's because of this. I had students come to me to ask clarifying questions, explain their grades, and review material before a test. This will definitely remain in my daily rotation.

Also...what a great conversation to have with parents at conferences when they as what their child can do for a better grade. I have no need for extra credit and parents will appreciate the opportunity as well. 

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